Souchong tea is regarded as the first black tea in the world. It has been invented in the early stage of 17th century in Tongmu Village (Chinese: 桐木关), Fujian province. Lapsang souchong (正山小种) is rarely available outside China. Nowadays, except Tongmu Village, the producing area of Souchong tea has already extended to the Wuying Mountain area. The full name of Lapsang souchong in Chinese is "正山小种". 正山 here means "authentic". Only those teas grown in Tongmu Village near Wuyi mountains can be named as "正山小种", otherwise they may be labeled as counterfeit or Waishan Xiaozhong (外山小种). 小种 means "sub-variety", the small leaf tea specie, which is a member of Wu Yi (武夷茶) tea family. As far as it is concerned, Lapsang soucong can be sub-divided into two broad types, they are smoke-baking type and non-smoke type.
Distinctive Features of Lapsang Soucong
1. Color of tea liquid
It is easy for you to see a golden loop appears along the circle of inner side of the tea cup if you have some premium Lapsang coucong tea in hands. As a signification of high quality black tea, if the tea liquid looks dull in color, it may be ranked as second-level.
Dry leaf aroma: A faint scent of rosin or pine aroma, slightly and tantalizing. But some have dry pungent woods aroma, not pleasant for your nose but enjoyable to drink.
All the way from the beautiful tightly twisted leaves to the aftertaste of the last steeping, this tea can give you a distinctive longan flavor overall complimenting with brisk and sweet aftertaste. If it tastes insipid or has miscellaneous notes, we can say it is an inferior-quality product.
4. Spent tea leaves
The spent leaves of high-quality tea show antique brass color in appearance .When touched with finger, the leaves are thick, soft and elastic. By comparison, the low quality teas look dull and feel coarse.
How to Storage Lapsang Souchong Properly
Lapsang souchong tea is regarded as the first black tea in the world. It has been invented in the early stage of 17th century in Tongmu Village(Chinese: 桐木关), Fujian Province. It is a fully fermented and well-known at home and abroad for its special and fascinating flavor.
The storage conditions for Lapsang souchong are not captious. To prevent spoilage, you’d better store them in an air-tight, dark, dry place free of strange odors Like wine, they get better with age.
Lapsang souchong is a fermented tea, as the storage time increases, the flavor of this tea changes. Two-year old Lapsang souchong has pleasant dry fruit smell. If kept in a air-tight container for several years, allowing them to age, the aging flavor will become more evident.
How to brew Lapsang souchong?
Premium tea should be brewed in water of good temperature if you want appreciate the essence of Lapsang souchong tea. So, our recommended temperature is about 90℃. Too much above or belew this degree can lead to the resulting tea liquid taste not so good.
Ways of brewing
"高冲水" refers to the way we pour water into tea cup at a certain height (20cm) above the cup. By this way, the impulse of the running water from high can churn up dry leaves in the cup, thoroughly and quickly, and let them soak in enough water to let its aroma out to a large extent.
"低斟茶" is a Chinese way of serving tea from tea pot or sharing pot to your friends. Utterly different from "高冲水", the trick is that you should hold your tea pot/sharing pot slight higher than the rim of a your friends' cups and then pour tea liquid slowly into cups one by one.
"中投法" is also a better way to brewthis tea. You can do like this, Put some leaves in your cup then pour some water till the leaves has just been submerged. Now, hold your cup with your right hand and left index finger against the bottom then give it some slight shakes to moisten tea leaves sufficiently. Then pour water into tea cups with 70% volume from high (about 25cm above).
Wait 5 - 10 seconds for the first infusion, and give 10 - 30 seconds for the following 3 infusions according to your personal preference. Don't brew them much longer than 60 seconds in any case, if you want to keep brewing more than 4 times.